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Old 10-20-2011, 03:35 PM   #1
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Default Adding Cranberry to Wheat Ale

So I know fruit beers can divide craft drinkers and homebrewers alike, but I wanted to give it a shot with a Wheat Ale kit I've done. I'm using the American Wheat Ale kit from Brewcraft and will be adding 3 lbs. of frozen unsweetened cranberries to the secondary.

Now I've read on websites and forums before about trying to properly add fruit. I was thinking of mashing the cranberries and adding it with some sort of cheesecloth/mesh bag. Another idea was puree the cranberries then just rack the ale on top of it. I'm hoping to get a slight cranberry taste, nothing too overpowering. And I wanted to have that slight red/pinkish color because my wife and I are expecting our first child (girl of course) in December and wanted to hand out a bottle of beer instead of a cigar.

Wanted to hear your suggestions or thoughts on what has worked for others in the past. Cheers!

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Old 10-20-2011, 04:28 PM   #2
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In my experience fresh, unsweetened cranberries add sourness, but not what most people see as "cranberry flavor". Cranberries need a whole lot of residual sweetness to lend palatable flavor to a beer. Works well with a sweet mead or braggot, but I'd recommend using an extract at bottling instead of fresh fruit.

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Old 10-20-2011, 04:52 PM   #3
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Can't help you on adding fresh cranberries per se. I did add the cranberry extract to a wheat beer. Turned out pretty good, but I will say that the 4 oz brewers best extract added just a hint of cranberry. Obviously no color though. I added this in the bottling bucket.

That batch is all gone, but I recently brewed a raspberry wheat using a few 15 oz cans of Oregon fruit (w/ heavy syrup). Gave it a quick 2 seconds in a sanitized blender and added to an empty carboy. Then racked the wheat from primary onto that for about 2 weeks. Turned out pretty tasty. If you are going to add cranberries to primary instead, I would wait for the initial fermentation to complete first, otherwise most of the flavor will get carried out by the initial ferm.

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Old 10-20-2011, 05:13 PM   #4
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I'm going to be adding them to secondary. The wheat ale is in initial right now and has been there since Saturday. I'm going to rack it to secondary this Saturday and add the cranberries then.

Now I did hear about people adding sweetener to the frozen cranberries as well. I do have a fresh bag of Splenda that might work to help take away from the sourness.

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Old 10-21-2011, 12:59 AM   #5
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I tried a cranberry wheat beer last year at this time. I used extract and like others have said, it gave a hint of a cranberry taste, but no color. I wish I had added more (2.5gal beer, only used half of the brewers best extract) of the extract. No color change though.

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Old 10-24-2011, 03:10 PM   #6
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So I talked to my local homebrew shop and came with the following solution. I made a cranberry puree with 1.5 cups of Splenda and 3 pounds of frozen cranberries. Once fermentation is completed, I'm going to strain out the skins and seeds through a few strainers and into the bottling bucket. I'll be bottling on November 6th, so I'll let you know how it turns out and tastes before bottling.

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Old 10-24-2011, 03:25 PM   #7
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I do this every year for Christmas. I mash them up a little and put them in a bucket and rack the beer on top of them after the primary fermentation is done. I leave them that way for 2 full weeks. Then I move the beer to a tertiary (sp?) for 1 week to clear a bit. Attached is a picture of last year's result. I use almost 5 lbs of cranberries, though. I like the color and the flavor it adds.

cranberry_beer.jpg  
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Old 10-24-2011, 06:01 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by timdsmith72 View Post
I do this every year for Christmas. I mash them up a little and put them in a bucket and rack the beer on top of them after the primary fermentation is done. I leave them that way for 2 full weeks. Then I move the beer to a tertiary (sp?) for 1 week to clear a bit. Attached is a picture of last year's result. I use almost 5 lbs of cranberries, though. I like the color and the flavor it adds.
Any chance you could share this recipe? I was thinking about doing either a cranberry or sour grape beer and this one sounds excellent for the holidays.
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Old 10-24-2011, 06:17 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mosquitocontrol View Post
Any chance you could share this recipe? I was thinking about doing either a cranberry or sour grape beer and this one sounds excellent for the holidays.
+1 on sharing the recipe. I was just skimming the internet looking for a Cranberry Hefe, and I am getting mixed answers as far as the end result.

If you just use cranberries with no sweetner, do you get a good round cranberry taste, or does only the tartness shine through?

I was thinking that I would make 1/3 of the fruit a mixed berry, and 2/3 cranberry to keep the end result from being too tart.

I am also curious to see how the batch with splenda comes out. I will be waiting to see.
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Old 10-24-2011, 07:46 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by mosquitocontrol View Post
Any chance you could share this recipe? I was thinking about doing either a cranberry or sour grape beer and this one sounds excellent for the holidays.
Sure thing. I'm at work and will have to wait until I get home to find the recipe in my folder. But I'll post it up as soon as I can.
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